Plus-size model and curvy-body advocate Ashley Graham was born in 1987 in Lincoln, Nebraska. She was discovered by a modeling agency at age 12 while shopping at a mall in Omaha.
Ashley signed with Wilhelmina Models in 2001 and then switched to Ford in 2003. Her good looks and curvy figure helped Ashley gain success with clients including Target, Hanes, Bloomingdale’s, Evans, Simply Be, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Elomi Lingerie, and Old Navy. She appeared in several Levi’s campaigns, has been profiled in Vogue, and was in the 2009 Glamour editorial “These Bodies Are Beautiful at Every Size.”
Ashley’s work for Lane Bryant has gained much attention, especially after a 2010 TV lingerie commercial was banned for being too sexy. The ad later received more than 800,000 views on YouTube. In 2015 she posed in an ad campaign for Swimsuits for All, a plus-size retailer for women’s swimsuits, with the tagline “You’ve Got It. Flaunt It.” The ad was featured in the 2015 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.
“I know my curves are sexy, and I want everyone to know that theirs are too. This is no reason to hide and every reason to flaunt. The world is ready for more curves in bikinis,“ Ashley said.
Ashley was Full Figured Fashion Week’s Model of the Year in 2012. She has been featured on billboards in Times Square and had a whole issue of Madison Plus magazine devoted to her, the first issue ever dedicated to one model.
In addition to her modeling work, Ashley has designed her own line of lingerie for plus-size women, has her own line of web workout videos called “Curvy Fit Club,” and has appeared on MTV’s Made as a coach for an aspiring plus-size model.
She also helped to found ALDA, a coalition of models promoting a healthy body image for women. “I honestly LOVE my job and LOVE helping women feel better about themselves,” Ashley said during a Facebook chat with USA Today.
Ashley married videographer Justin Ervin in 2010.